In order to promote the participation of civil society in decision-making at both national and EU level, the Society Integration Foundation in cooperation with European Movement – Latvia is organizing “NGO Forum – RIGA 2015″, which will take place next week on 2nd and 3rd of March.
The NGO Forum will bring together more than 250 participants and experts from non-governmental organisations, policy and decision makers and opinion leaders, as well as other stakeholders from Latvia, the European Union and the European Economic Area. ‘NGO Forum – RIGA 2015′ is organised within the framework of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Representatives from EEA Countries, a delegation from the European Economic and Social Committee and its Liaison Group and EU-wide NGO networks as well as guests from EU neighboring countries will be among the participants. “NGO Forum- Riga 2015″ is organized by the “Society Integration Foundation” and “European Movement- Latvia”.
- To share best practice in governance, horizontal, vertical and structural dialogue including promotion of innovative / digital tools, thus improving representative associations’/civil society organisations’ (CSOs) and citizens’ participation in decision making at national and EU levels and interaction among each other;
- To give necessary input and identify action to promote more active participation and involvement of civil society at national and EU levels, decisions related to the EU and interaction among each other (preparation phase will include a drafting of suggestions) including the identification of financial requirements and potential for the aforementioned aspects;
- To agree on possible civil dialogue perspectives, a Road Map/Riga Process for implementing Article 11.1 and 11.2, including structural dialogue.
- Eurobarometer and other surveys point to a great need for closer ties between decision makers and citizens. People want to be more involved in decision making at a local, national and EU level. People want to understand why decisions are made in a particular way and they want to contribute to the quality of decisions.
- Involvement in decision making at different levels and phases is an indication of good governance and has a stable legal grounding in Article 11.1 and 11.2 of the Treaty on European Union (Lisbon Treaty). Direct implementation is still lacking in several aspects. The EU 2020 Strategy review offers a chance for immediate action. EU level decisions have a major impact on the lives of people at local, national and EU levels and everything should be discussed prior to a decision being made. Synergies of participation at national and EU level decision making are possible and necessary.
- The European Parliaments Own initiative report on Improving of the functioning of the EU, building on the Lisbon Treaty potential, and other Institutions commitment shows a unique chance of getting much needed progress on track, e.g. by starting a RIGA PROCESS ON PARTICIPATION and designing/agreeing on a Road Map for the implementation of Article 11.1 and 11.2, civil and structural dialogue needs to be implemented properly to make all, including less privileged, voices heard at EU level.
- Thanks to strong support from civil society organisations, one of three horizontal priorities of the Latvian Presidency in the EU Council is “Involvement” (along with “Sustainability” and “Innovation”). 1. The institutions shall, by appropriate means, give citizens and representative associations the opportunity to make known and publicly exchange their views in all areas of Union action.
- Article 11.1 and 11.2 of the Treaty on European Union